Saturday, April 25, 2009
Coloured Pencil-Start to Finish Part 1
My next project is taking awhile; a long while, and at 14x17 purely coloured pencil, mostly line work, it's my most ambitious project to date; so how about a how-to series?
Keep in mind, I don't do photo-realism, or conventional realism of any kind when I use the pencils. For me, the pencils speak for my inner eye, and whatever comes out on the page comes from that vision with greater or lesser success (the inner eye is not terribly obliging about giving up its secrets)--that said, the nature of the medium does dictate a number of standard techniques that will be the same regardless of individual style.
Part 1: Technical Preliminaries: Supports and medium
This is not the order I generally work in; 1st comes concept, but I don't feel like discussing concept right now, so lets get nitty gritty with the techie stuff. Support is the 'artsy' term for the thing you paint or draw upon. Stretched & gessoed canvas is the support for most oil painters, but it could also be wood, or anything else. Coloured pencil usually goes on paper, but what paper? I've worked on office paper, which is nice and smooth but not worth framing, and brown kraft paper would be a beautiful support for coloured pencil, but it's not archival. I've used watercolour paper (very nice), and Canson Mi-Teintes Paper (colourful, but prone to fading--very bad), and my favourite so far is Strathmore 300 Series Bristol. It's bright white, smooth and relatively tough. It can 'take' erasure and lifting without too much damage, and it's smooth texture is nice for line work and pure saturated colours. I also, when I wish, soak, stretch and colour it up with watercolours--this is tough stuff.
For this project, I took a bit of time trying to decide. The work shown is on Yupo. The planned piece (just a twinkle in my eye at this stage) bears no resemblance to that shown, but I'm working with colours and motifs that will be part of the planned piece. On Yupo, I'm experimenting both with colour values and the physical qualities of the paper. I've used Prismacolor here, and some Inktense Watersoluble pencils. Technically, it's all experimentation and I see much that I don't like. My Inktense pencils are pale or when thickened are gummy, and while trying to achieve intensity in the greens, my Prismacolors left streaks and gobs. Not nice--I won't be doing my final piece on Yupo.
I've also done two ACEO's to continue the experiments. You'll see some similarity in colour values here. One is Inktense on watercolour paper, the other is Strathmore Bristol with Prisma's. Once again, I'll be working on the bristol, but I'll be using the ACEO's as reference for mood and colour. I like the Inktense pencils, but I decide against their use, as I'm looking for the intense saturated waxy colour that the Prismacolors give me. On the other hand, the Inktense experiment is something I may like to revisit another time when I want this effect.
Next: Part II
Image: Fragrant Lily, 5x9 Yupo with Prismacolour and Inktense pencils, looking less blobby in 75dpi.